Why is Competitive Gaming Call Esports?

It’s hard to believe that competitive gaming has turned into its own industry known as “esports”. But why do we call competitive gaming esports in the first place?

Esports was a term first used to describe competitive gaming in a publication by the Online Gamers Association in 1999. Competitive gaming has been coined esports to attract investors and sponsors as a profitable and rapidly growing industry. The term is furthermore used now for law creation and attract all stakeholders with the usage of “esports” in names.

That’s a loaded answer, so below I’ll explain thoroughly why the term “esports” is used to explain competitive gaming. I’ll provide context to where it first originated, its function in today’s society and how you may also leverage the term as you further work with or in the esports and gaming industries.

The Birth of Competitive Gaming and the Name Esports

Technology has been growing rapidly since the 1950s, but it’s hard to believe the first video game came out in 1958, Pong. That should give you a bit of an understanding of the timeline. The first esports-like event with video gaming was the Space Invaders Championship hosted in the 1980s with over 10,000 participants across the US competing.

But back then it wasn’t really called esports, it was just a gaming tournament. Although some people may have used the term “esports” (or a variation of the word, such as e-sports or eSports), the first official publication to use the name was The OGA (Online Gamers Association), writing it as “eSports”.

The OGA • Eurogamer.net

From there, the term “eSports” became popular amongst tournaments and business owners. Although you are likely wondering why “esports” over competitive gaming. Sure its origins are very straightforward, the value of using the term has more than meets the eye.

Why We Still Use the Term “Esports”

Esports is a term foreign to many in the business world. Less-so nowadays but still very much so. Before, however, esports brought uniqueness to this niche section of the gaming industry. As revenues in esports grew, it turned from a niche from the gaming industry to its own standalone industry with businesses built around it.

With that came the need for investors and big business players to enter the scene as a catalyst. Esports is very much an attractive term that now can be leveraged to attract investors as a “new and rapidly growing industry”. The divergence from the gaming industry, which already had billions of dollars invested, allowed for the esports industry to pack major year-over-year growth.

That allowed the industry to pack about 50%+ YoY, slowly declining to the about 25% YoY we have today. The term is now also used in legal restrictions and has been coined the official name for the industry by the AP Style Guide.

The term esports was really birthed coincidently but provided a lot of value to the early days of the industry. Being able to separate from the gaming industry, one that esports is dependant on but functions very differently from a revenue, functionality and ROI perspective, esports was able to attract big-name investors during the 2013 to 2020 period.

How Should You Use “Esports” to Gain More Value in Your Business and Applications

Now knowing how esports is used to attract investors and sponsors, you want to incorporate the name into your business vendors and dealings, especially with parties who aren’t as aware of the esports or gaming industries.

Leveraging the term “esports” will leave the individual intrigued, when you are ambitious enough for them to not realize fully what the industry is, you can win third parties by showing them the metrics of the industry and the large field of possibilities.

For your events and tournaments in traditional industries (let’s say education for example), incorporating the word “esports” into that endeavour will provide positive PR and make it more attractive to other people in that external industry. It’s a very win-win.

When you exclude the word “esports” or just simply say “competitive gaming” or “gaming”, it losses that ambiguity that would otherwise attract business folk, especially those of an older age.

This trend will be less and less true every year, but currently, as an esports consultant, I can assure you that majority of the corporate world is unaware or not fully informed about the world of esports. Due to esports’ now stunning metrics, leveraging the term in addition to its market value, YoY, recent investor and annual revenue will go alone way to bringing in new clients, sponsors and investors.

Be mindful though that anyone aware of esports from a business standpoint likely won’t be swayed by the metrics, since they likely know them and understand that they don’t translate as high for ROI as other industries, but obviously whatever that deal is you want to bring forth your personal metrics. Just be aware this methodology works best with less informed individuals.